When you’re etching Damascus, always be sure to wear appropriate safety gear like eye protection and gloves. For detailed instructions for etching Damascus, use this link. The basic process is as follows:
- After heat treating, bring your Damascus to a 400 to 600 grit finish. This prepares your steel for an even etch.
- Once your Damascus is sanded to the correct grit, thoroughly wash it with alcohol and pat dry with a clean rag. Don’t touch it with your hands.
- If you’re using ferric chloride, dilute your acid with distilled water. Muriatic acid needs no dilution.
- Warm your acid to room temperature. To warm your acid more quickly, the best method is to place the container of acid into a large bowl of warm water. Never put acid in the microwave!
- Hang your Damascus piece in the warm acid so that it hangs freely and doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of the container. Keep it submerged for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the Damascus from the acid and dip it in a bath of baking soda and distilled water to neutralize the acid. Wash your piece with alcohol and pat it dry with a clean rag.
- If you want a deeper etch, repeat steps 5 and 6.
- Polish, and enjoy!